Step 1: Assess your hardware's ability to run Windows 7Start with the Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) Toolkit 7.0 to assess your current equipment and create an inventory that covers the hardware (including drivers), software, and operating system information -- there are no client agents to install!
In MAP, the first action is to inventory your environment by clicking the Go button next to the Perform an Inventory step. In the wizard that runs, select the Windows Computers inventory scenario, then click Next and choose the method you'd like to use to discover your clients, such as from Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) or an IP address range; you can also manually enter computer names or import them from a file.
The Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) Toolkit
With the inventory in place, you can assess your Windows 7 readiness. (Windows 8 readiness, Office 2010 readiness, and Internet Explorer Discovery are other reports you may want to run at other times.) Click the Inventory and Assessment option in MAP's Action pane, then open the Assessment Properties dialog box. In that dialog box, set your readiness criteria, such as CPU speed and RAM amount, or use Microsoft's default options. Click the Run Assessment button to get the results of which PCs meet your Windows 7 readiness criteria. The reports are shown on screen and saved in your Documents/MAP folder as an Excel spreadsheet.
The MAP readiness report
Microsoft has detailed instructions on using MAP.
Step 2: Assess your applications' compatibility with Windows 7Microsoft also has a free tool to help you validate your applications' compatibility with Windows 7. Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT) tracks applications you have tested and their level of compatibility. It can provide compatibility information for applications, devices, Windows updates, User Account Control (UAC)-related issues, and Web applications with new versions of Internet Explorer.
You need a SQL server to run ACT, as it uses SQL databases for its compatibility data. After you create the ACT database, you next install client agents to gather the application inventory information.